|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Life of the Spider by J. Henri Fabre:
table, they float slowly upwards and, for the most part, reach the
ceiling. The emigrants' lines should rise in the same way and even
The thing is done: with the aid of nothing that is visible to the
three of us looking on, a Spider makes her ascent. She ambles with
her eight legs through the air; she mounts, gently swaying. The
others, in ever-increasing numbers, follow, sometimes by different
roads, sometimes by the same road. Any one who did not possess the
secret would stand amazed at this magic ascent without a ladder.
In a few minutes, most of them are up, clinging to the ceiling.
Not all of them reach it. I see some who, on attaining a certain
The Life of the Spider
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Euthydemus by Plato:
have no sense or meaning. Ctesippus again breaks out, and again has to be
pacified by Socrates, who renews the conversation with Cleinias. The two
Sophists are like Proteus in the variety of their transformations, and he,
like Menelaus in the Odyssey, hopes to restore them to their natural form.
He had arrived at the conclusion that Cleinias must become a philosopher.
And philosophy is the possession of knowledge; and knowledge must be of a
kind which is profitable and may be used. What knowledge is there which
has such a nature? Not the knowledge which is required in any particular
art; nor again the art of the composer of speeches, who knows how to write
them, but cannot speak them, although he too must be admitted to be a kind
of enchanter of wild animals. Neither is the knowledge which we are
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Firm of Nucingen by Honore de Balzac:
"Then it was plain to Palma, Werbrust, and du Tillet that the trick
had been played. Nobody else was any the wiser. The three scholars
studied the means by which the great bubble had been created, saw that
it had been preparing for eleven months, and pronounced Nucingen the
greatest financier in Europe.
"Rastignac understood nothing of all this, but he had the four hundred
thousand francs which Nucingen had allowed him to shear from the
Parisian sheep, and he portioned his sisters. D'Aiglemont, at a hint
from his cousin Beaudenord, besought Rastignac to accept ten per cent
upon his million if he would undertake to convert it into shares in a
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Mosses From An Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
table and withdrew, leaving what he had said to produce its
effect upon the young man's mind.
"We will thwart Rappaccini yet," thought he, chuckling to
himself, as he descended the stairs; "but, let us confess the
truth of him, he is a wonderful man--a wonderful man indeed; a
vile empiric, however, in his practice, and therefore not to be
tolerated by those who respect the good old rules of the medical
Throughout Giovanni's whole acquaintance with Beatrice, he had
occasionally, as we have said, been haunted by dark surmises as
to her character; yet so thoroughly had she made herself felt by
Mosses From An Old Manse